I was not on the planning team for this part of the program at the last
Wikimania, but I volunteered to facilitate several sessions and also
participated in several more.
There are key difference from having a topic interest group hold a session
to talk informally among themselves, and the way that the critical
discussions are done.
Both are important ways for people in our movement to communicate at a
wikiconferences. The first approach...BoF...will happen with or without
assistance from the organizers doing much to help. The approach is
dependent on the conference organizing team providing space, a facilitator,
note taker, and a process to select topics that are of interest to the
broader wikimedia movement.
The critical discussions that I attended were well attended, well
facilitated, and had a better wrap up conclusion than less formal
discussions. So, I hope that the next Wikimania will include a track for
these more formally organized discussion sessions.
WikiConference North America https://wikiconference.org/wiki/2016/Main_Page
On Wed, Aug 10, 2016 at 11:56 AM, Leila Zia <leila(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
On Wed, Aug 10, 2016 at 6:35 AM, Marc-Andre <marc(a)uberbox.org> wrote:
On 2016-08-10 01:08 AM, Leila Zia wrote:
Are we considering to not continue the support for the Discussion Rooms
idea as suggested
in Wikimania London and explored in London, Mexico City, and Esino Lario?
If so, can you expand why? Quite a few of the Discussion sessions in Esino
Lario were very well attended, the participants took active role in these
sessions, and the general sentiment that I got from these sessions was that
they were helpful.
I'm not sure how you get to that conclusion - BoF sessions are a more
general concept that encompasses discussions neatly; I'm not sure why you
feel that does not provide support?
Perhaps there is an aspect I didn't understand. What's missing?
From the point of view of an audience of these sessions, I see few
differences: There is a specific structure to Discussion Room sessions that
is described in, for example here
<https://wikimania2016.wikimedia.org/wiki/Discussions#Outline>. There is
also a process regarding call for proposals/abstracts, reviewing them, and
accepting them. This level of freedom for a subset of people (Discussion
Room organizers) to control the outline and processes around Discussion
Room sessions may be in contrast with what you said earlier regarding the
conditions that you would like to define for discussions happening under
BoF: " They are generally more specialized or aimed towards a more precise
public, and are not selected by the programme committee nor curated beyond
a simple set of criteria so they are more free-form." and " They need
to be directly related to the movement or an allied movement.". I want to
specifically emphasize "nor curated beyond a simple set of criteria".
If you see a way for allowing/having the kind of structure and process
that Discussion Rooms require under BoF, then I have no more questions. :)
If not, I'd appreciate if you help me understand this better.
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